The market for English comics in Montreal might look pretty big, but it isn’t.
“It seems like it’s because the biggest comedy festival in the world is here,” Montreal comedian Joey Elias tells Global News. “But the rest of the year, it’s a really niche market.”
So, comics have to struggle. But one is starting to make a name for herself in New York City. Jessica Salomon used to be a United Nations war crimes lawyer, but gave that up 10 years ago — for comedy.
“Well, I didn’t really love law,” she explains. “I went into it for human rights and I was interested in justice.”
She figured stand-up was a more creative way to advocate for people. Now, three years after moving to New York from Montreal, she’s appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The show was taped on Monday and will air on Friday.
“I was really worried because I have done things that are nerve-racking before,” she laughs. But she managed to do well. In fact, she’s used to swimming against the tide. While Salomon is Jewish, her wife is Palestinian.
“Ah yes, my wife Eman el-Husseini is also a comedian,” she says, “and we sometimes work together as a duo.”
The two raised eyebrows when they started performing together, but Salomon says they support each other. Her appearance with Jimmy Fallon is the kind of break both hoped for when they moved to New York.
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“There’s so much more opportunities to get on stage and you grow so much more quickly as a result,” she says.
Elias agrees. Salomon was one of his students at a comedy writing workshop and he says the hard work is paying off.
“It just means that all those little gigs that you do in dive bars and what we call hell gigs, the payoff at the end is – you’re on the Tonight Show.”
Salomon is optimistic that being on the show will help her career.